The 22-year-old’s arrival in the West Midlands was seen as a real coup by many, though he was unable to make the impact he wanted with injury troubles disrupting his stay at Lee Bowyer’s side, who struggled for most of the campaign.
Making just 20 league appearances for Blues because of this, his impact was very limited as he recorded one goal and three assists, a real blow for the second-tier side who were hoping the Dutchman would have been able to guide them to a much better league finish during the 2021/22 season.
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One aspect of Bowyer’s tenure that has been praised by many is his recruitment during his 15-month stay at St Andrew’s, with the likes of Riley McGree, Matija Sarkic, Onel Hernandez, Juninho Bacuna and Lyle Taylor all proving to be real assets during their spells at the club.
However, they didn’t receive value for money on Chong, with the Daily Mirror reporting that the club forked out £40,000 per week for the 22-year-old during his stay.
That may come as a surprise to many considering they only spent a transfer fee on one player last term in Bacuna, with the rest of Bowyer’s arrivals either coming in as a free agent or on a loan deal.
This is really frustrating because the West Midlands side could have easily recruited four or five hidden gems for that sort of money, so the fact they have seemingly wasted it on one player is a real disappointment.
It’s particularly disappointing because he’s only a loan player and with Blues needing to build for the long term, these funds could have been much better spent elsewhere on permanent additions.
They need to be extremely careful that they don’t break the EFL’s financial rules because although transfer fees can contribute to a breach, a hefty wage bill is often the killer and they may not have generated enough revenue last term to make a profit or even a small loss.
It will be interesting to see the accounts from last season when they are released, though the fact they did spend the amount they did on Chong potentially means they are in a much better financial position than many expect.
Spending that sort of wage on a player needs to stop though – because they need quite a few players through the door to increase quality and provide squad depth if they are to remain afloat in their current division again next season.